Malignant: Movie Review

The expectations for Malignant weren’t all that high, but instead of meeting or exceeding them, the movie kind of, well, ended up leaving some people confused and others oddly satisfied, while others might have walked away wondering what the hell they’d just seen. Don’t get me wrong, it has the elements of a satisfying horror movie since the level of gore isn’t so bad that one has to look away but it’s also not so underwhelming that it feels like an empty promise. It also builds enough tension to be impressive and even worthy of the jump scares it uses, but perhaps it’s the idea that the reveal of the villain is a little too premature and the idea is kind of, well, awkward. Looking at it from the idea of what the power of the mind is capable of might make it appear to be a little better story, but there’s also the fact that this movie stretches things to such a point that simply accepting what it has to offer is kind of tough if one has any idea about human anatomy and how far it can be stretched. 

Granted, horror movies don’t go in for reality, and this is why the movie’s effect works so well, but (oh yeah, spoilers) the fact that a young girl, Madison Mitchell, was born with a living tumor that was another sentient being grafted to her back, her twin in other words, is pretty grotesque. But the fact that this other being can communicate through the radio and grants Madison immense strength, agility, and makes her almost supernatural in some ways, is ridiculously cool but also borders on the cheesy side of things considering how this whole process works. The opening of the movie is as one might expect, kind of vague but also horrifying since the being on Madison’s back, it’s hard to call it human even if they’re essentially the same being, is insanely strong, and kills several people before he and Madison are subdued.

At that point, the lead doctor states that it’s ‘time to remove the cancer‘, which leads into the grisly sights that are seen during the opening credits as the doctors work to remove and excise as much of the violent being as they can from the young girl. After all that, the movie starts taking on a different note as Madison is seen in her rather spacious home, pregnant, and returning from a shift at work to a husband that becomes unexpectedly violent when Madison says something he doesn’t like. When he slams her head against the wall hard enough to draw blood, Madison does her best to bar herself in her room, but something strange happens after that. Needless to say, the husband kind of wrote his own death warrant as a dark figure stalks him through the house before smashing his skull against a wall with a single hit. Madison loses her baby, unfortunately, and eventually, the audience finds out that she’s suffered a couple of miscarriages over the years, which makes it very easy to feel sorry for her. 

Long story short, the fact that the supposedly enigmatic being known as Gabriel, who’s apparently been speaking to Madison throughout her life, was, in fact, the twin that was born grafted to her back is in fact the ‘cancer’ that was spoken about comes clear in a way that’s kind of, well, hokey. Every time that Gabriel, who shares Madison’s body as they’re part of the same brain, emerges he seeks out one of those responsible for his elimination. Using Madison’s body, Gabriel alters her form as she walks backward, leaves upside-down fingerprints, and ‘goes to sleep’ whenever Gabriel is in control. It’s an awkward thing to explain since the fact that Gabriel’s ‘face’ emerges from the back of her skull every time he’s in control, but the murderous rage that he exhibits becomes something that’s like a cross between The Matrix and The Raid since Gabriel is absolutely vicious, not to mention insanely tough. And the fact that Madison has no control of this until the end of the movie is creepier still. 

But during the final battle, Madison does take control and stops Gabriel from killing her sister, going so far as to lock Gabriel in a mental prison as she utilizes the same strength of will that her evil twin managed to tap into so often, keeping him contained finally. While Gabriel promises that he’ll get out one day, Madison simply replies that she’ll be ready for him this time. It was a nice cap on a movie that had decent to good special effects and kind of a loose, squishy story that wasn’t that bad really. Overall, it’s not the greatest horror movie ever made, but it’s miles above several others. 

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